Suit claims media mogul engaged in self-dealing
A nephew of Sumner Redstone has filed suit against the Viacom chairman, claiming he was bilked out of a valuable stake in the family’s business empire.
The media mogul is also being sued by his son Brent Redstone in a case that dates from last February.
In the latest action, filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, Michael Redstone alleges his father, Edward Redstone, and uncle Sumner engaged in “self-dealing,” “breaches of fiduciary duty” and “unjust enrichment as trustees of Redstone family trusts.”
The younger Redstone alleges his father and uncle bought out his stake in the Redstone family company National Amusements in a series of transactions in 1972 and 1984 at a low valuation, enriching themselves at his expense. National Amusements is private and controls Viacom and CBS Corp.
“These are knowingly baseless allegations regarding entirely proper transactions that occurred decades ago. NAI will defend vigorously against this meritless and frivolous lawsuit,” the company said in a statement.
“This suit is particularly troubling considering the important role Sumner Redstone has played helping Michael overcome serious obstacles throughout his life. Mr. Redstone essentially rescued Michael from a difficult family environment, removed him from a mental institution, paid for his education, and gave him a job at NAI. It is unfortunate that this is how Michael has chosen to repay Sumner Redstone’s care and generosity,” the statement added.
Earlier this year, a Maryland judge ruled that Brent Redstone’s lawsuit against his family holding company National Amusements, his father Sumner and his sister Shari Redstone could go forward, rejecting a motion to dismiss the case.
Brent filed the suit in February seeking to dissolve National Amusements, “due to the oppressive acts of those in control of the corporation.”
Brent, who lives on a ranch in Denver, owns one-sixth of NAI, which controls Viacom and CBS Corp. and runs a worldwide chain of movie theaters. He accused his father, sister and other NAI directors of “self-dealing and favoritism.”